Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New interface + 30 minutes = 2 web apps

As any of you who follow this blog may know, we recently released m-Power’s new user interface. It provides a more graphical and intuitive experience, while simplifying the web application development process.

A couple months ago I shared some screenshots of the new interface, but today I have something better. We just created a brand new m-Power test drive area where you can see m-Power for yourself!

Try the m-Power test drive to:

  • Sample m-Power’s new interface
  • Understand why the m-Power build process saves time
  • Build 2 fully functional web applications
Better yet, the whole process will only take about 30 minutes. Get started here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

How to waste money

I noticed something interesting while looking through the survey results posted in last week’s blog. I noticed that many companies claim to have big needs, but don’t fix them because they are too expensive.

Has anyone stopped to calculate the opportunity cost of doing nothing? Doing nothing does cost money, and can cause you to lose out on more money than you might imagine. Don't be "penny-wise and dollar-foolish".

Want some money-saving ideas? Here are 7 ways that real companies solved real problems with web applications and saved money.

Friday, September 25, 2009

17 Notably Bad Products from Great Tech Companies

Timing is everything in the tech industry. If your product is behind the times, no one wants it. If it is ahead of the times, no one understands it.

I thought about this fact while reading an article on Datamation.com entitled, “17 Notably Bad Products from Great Tech Companies.” Interestingly enough, while they failed as products, not all of them were “bad”. In my opinion, #10, #13, and #16 were just ahead of their time.

Out of curiosity, did anyone have any experience with any of these products? I would love to hear about it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Demo app: Google maps + drag-and-drop

We just released a brand new demo with a slick user interface. We combined a drag-and-drop maintenance application with an integrated Google map and gave our fictional bike company, Crazybikes, an order assignment application!

When you drag an order to a different truck, you update the database AND alert the map that it must redraw itself to reflect the most recent changes. While we chose an order assignment application for the demo, this user interface technique could apply to a wide variety of applications, such as:

  • Job Scheduling: Let’s say you’re a manufacturer with many different plants. You could view the current workload for each plant and assign new work orders to the appropriate plants with a single application.
  • Coverage Feature Selection: Let’s pretend you’re an insurance company. You could let customers log into a portal and select their coverage options through a drag-and-drop interface.

Want to see this user interface technique in your business applications? Let us know, and we’ll build you a free proof-of-concept web application.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Survey says . . .

Congratulations to Chuck Ciali, winner of the 2009 mrc netbook giveaway! Thanks to everyone who took our survey and participated in the 2009 mrc giveaway.

Want to see the survey results? We created a tabbed report with m-Power, displaying the results of each question on a pie chart in separate tabs. Click here to view the survey results.

Friday, September 18, 2009

10 best places for technology jobs

While the recession is technically over (according to Mr. Bernanke), recovery is a slow process. Like it or not, some cities will recover faster than others.

So, which cities are best for tech jobs in the near future? Here’s an article on usnews.com which lists the 10 best places for technology jobs in 2009. While much of this list is predictable, a couple cities surprised me.

For example, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Washington D.C. is turning into a hotspot for tech jobs thanks to the government’s increased reliance on technology. How about you? Did any of these cities surprise you?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Demo app: Where drag-n-drop meets scheduling

We just created a new order shipment calendar application packed with a couple of time-saving features: Drag-n-drop and hovers. This is just one example. You could create many different types of applications with these features.

At first glance, the application might look like an ordinary shipment calendar, but try this:

  • Drag-and-Drop: Want to move a shipment to another shipping date? Simply drag it and drop it to the appropriate day on the calendar. When you move a shipment to a different date, m-Power auto-magically updates the shipping date in the order data-base. (The only caveat in this particular demo is that we chose to leave out the edit checking allowing you to move shipments into the past. No,we haven’t perfected time travel just yet.)

  • Hover: Want to see details for any shipment? Hover over any shipment and a little box pops up with all the information you need.

That’s one simple order shipment calendar, isn’t it? Imagine all the different applications that could benefit from these features. Want to see this functionality in your business applications? Let us know, and we’ll build you a free proof-of-concept web application.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Last chance to win a netbook

Reminder: mrc’s 2009 netbook giveaway ends this Thursday. If you completed our survey, you are eligible to win. If you haven’t yet completed our survey and want to enter the drawing, you can find the survey here.

The winner will be announced via Twitter this Thursday. Are you following us on Twitter yet? If not, you can follow us here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

10 game changing tech ideas that failed

Thinking back on recent “game-changing” tech ideas, I notice a trend. Most of the game changers weren’t new inventions, but rather improvement on existing concepts. Take the iPod for example: Apple didn’t invent the mp3 player, but they did make the mp3 player better.

I thought about that while reading an interesting article on Techradar.com entitled, “10 game-changing tech ideas that didn't change the game.” Sure, maybe these ideas failed initially, but could any of them succeed with a few improvements? The tablet PC stands out to me as a possibility.

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Netbook winner to be announced via Twitter

mrc is now on Twitter! To kick off our Twitter arrival, we are announcing the winner of our 2009 giveaway next Thursday (9/17) via Twitter. If you took our survey, you’re already eligible. If you haven’t, you can take the survey here.

What can followers of @mrcproductivity expect? Well, you won’t hear mundane details, like what I ate for breakfast, or complaints about the weather. Rather, we will provide our followers with value, such as:

  • Helpful industry tips, tricks, news. When we run across interesting information that our followers might enjoy, we’ll post it on Twitter.
  • Another means of communication. Want to ask us a question, shoot us a note, or tell us a witty joke? Twitter is a great way to communicate.
  • Company announcements. We’ll keep you updated on new products, updates, or contests.

Start following us today: twitter.com/mrcproductivity.

Monday, September 07, 2009

A funny story (that really happened)

Our marketing director needed some web applications a while back, so I sat down and gave him a quick 15 minute m-Power tutorial. He picked it up from there, creating and deploying the web applications he needed.

While showing those applications to one of our consultants, the marketing director jokingly mentioned, “We should start up a campaign: So easy, a marketing guy can do it.” Our consultant replied, “No way! No one would ever believe that.”

It was both funny and thought-provoking. Is that so unbelievable? Is it unbelievable that someone with no programming or web application development experience whatsoever now creates web applications faster than a seasoned programmer? On second thought, yeah, I guess so.

Then again, if you don’t believe it, you can always take m-Power for a test drive and see for yourself.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

How to get fired

Are you doing more to hurt your career than you’re doing to help it? If the company is downsizing, certain behaviors turn employees into layoff targets. This article on CIO.com entitled, “How to get fired”, lists 5 such behaviors to avoid.

I’ll add one more, specific to the IT industry: Never create an “IT vs. Non-IT” atmosphere. For example: If an IT professional spends all of their time shooting down requests or ideas, other people in the company get the feeling IT is out to thwart them, rather than help.

If you must reject ideas, try to explain why the idea isn’t feasible and suggest a different solution instead (if possible). Become someone who tries to help, rather than someone who only says “no”.

Friday, September 04, 2009

We've redesigned our web site for you!

You might notice the blog looks a little different today. So does our web site.

Why, you ask? To improve your browsing experience.

You'll find that we simplified the look, cleaned up the organization, improved navigation, and added a much requested solutions section.

We’re happy with the result and believe the new site is much more user friendly. Feel free to check it out for yourself and let us know what you think.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

How to bring your business applications to the web

This whitepaper covers techniques available for bringing your business applications to the web. It covers the pros and cons of 4 popular methods, pitfalls to avoid, and modernization best practices.

If your company is thinking about moving your business applications to the web, this is the whitepaper for you. You can read the entire whitepaper here.>>

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